More newspapers are opting for online paywalls.
Interstate General Media revealed plans to begin charging for online content from The Philadelphia Inquirer and its sister publication the Philadelphia Daily News. As part of the strategy, both newspapers will be getting their own Web sites; they previously shared Philly.com.
According to the announcement, the new Web sites (with paywalls) will appear in the first quarter of 2013. The exact details of subscription plans have yet to be decided, but most newspapers that have erected paywalls have opted for a metered model, offering free access to a certain number of articles every month. After that, readers must buy a digital subscription. Philly.com will continue to operate and publish content as a stand-alone site, with a focus on video and entertainment.
The decision to adopt online paywalls follows a number of other new digital initiatives from the Philly papers, which were acquired by IGM from creditors earlier this year, following a contentious, drawn-out bankruptcy process. Last month, Philly.com revealed a new design, and the Daily News launched a new tablet app that includes custom reading lists and more social media integration.
Separately, rumors are circulating that The Washington Post is also planning to begin charging for online content with a metered model sometime around mid-2013. Five Canadian newspapers owned by Quebecor’s Sun Media just implemented paywalls earlier this month; the Web sites for the Toronto Sun, Ottawa Sun, Calgary Sun, Winnipeg Sun and Edmonton Sun all deploy metered access models on December 4.
Also this week, The New York Times reported Bloomberg LP founder and current New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is considering buying the Financial Times from Pearson. News of Bloomberg’s interest follows rumors that Pearson would sell the property following an executive shakeup. Ownership of the Financial Times Group would also give Bloomberg half ownership of The Economist. Thomson Reuters is considered another possible bidder.